This Charter is about our aims, your part in that process, and what you can expect from the staff and service we provide.

Aim of the Early Years

The Imperial College Early Years constantly aims to provide high quality childcare and education in a stimulating, safe and secure environment. 

Each child is encouraged to develop through free and planned play and activities provided that will promote the skills and attitudes needed to achieve their full potential.  These activities will be provided both indoors and outdoors.

A child’s natural desire for knowledge will be promoted and opportunities for its development enhanced by observing the child to assess their stage of development, and subsequently by forward planning, encouragement, facilitating supporting, guiding and appropriate teaching to reinforce his/her learning.

We aim to meet each child’s needs within a group setting with regard to the needs and rights of other children within the group.

Partnership with Parents

We experience our relationship with parents as a partnership in 3 ways.

  1. 1.   By sharing the actual regular care of the child and contributing to the child’s experience of being cared for.
  1. 2.   By parents and key person sharing information, a picture of the whole child will emerge and their interests, which will influence planning and ensure each child makes the best possible progress.
  1. 3.   By asking for your support with celebrating various festivals/Social events which promote a sense of community.

Management of the Early Years

The Early Years is one of the responsibilities of the Director of Campus services.

The Head of Early Years, Tracy Halsey, is responsible to the Director of Campus Services and has overall responsibility for the Early Years.  Her principal duties are strategic and long term, planning, staffing, registration and legal requirements, admissions, occupancy and budget control. The Head of early years is the named safeguarding officer.

The Acting Deputy Head of Early Years, Liz Anne de-Vignes, is responsible to the Head of Early Years.  Her main duties are the running of the Early Years on a daily basis including staffing.

The Administrator, Margaret Kennedy, is responsible to the Head of Early Years for administration including, fee payment, finance, database and general parent communications. 

In the absence of the Head of Early years the deputy will take on the responsibilities.  In the absence of the deputy a senior member of staff, Rowena Howe, will deputise and take on the day today running of the centre. 

The Head of Early Years and Deputy will be available to talk to parents individually at short notice and by appointment on any issues concerning their child in the Early Years.  They are also available for any help, information or advice on other childcare issues or difficulties that parents might be experiencing.

The Head and deputy head will also arrange Parent/Staff Meetings for the exchange of information and discussion of Early Years matters.  The Head of Early Years will also write regular informative letters to keep parents abreast of new or recurrent Early Years issues. 

Early Years Committee

The Early Years Committee is an advisory committee. on current and future developments in the provision of care and education for the children of staff and students.  The Committee also pays particular attention to issues of access, quality of care and fund-raising.

Parents are represented on the Committee under the following categories:

  • Professional Support Services Representative, Academic Parent Representative, Student Parent Representative.
  • Representatives are elected by the Early Years parents.
  • The current chair of the committee is Professor Emma Mccoy.

The Staff

The staff at the Early Years are responsible for translating the aims and ideals of high quality childcare into the every day care and education.  They are the most valuable resource we have to offer you and as such are carefully chosen, fully trained and regularly reviewed.  References are taken up for all staff and medical checks are completed before employment. All staff undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service check at an Enhanced level to check their suitability for working with children.  All staff have completed a minimum of 2 years training equivalent to NNEB, and many have a significant number of years of practical experience. The training covers child development from birth to 7 years of age

The staff will provide the expertise needed to plan and co-ordinate activities and provide for long and short term development of the children based on detailed observations.  They will organise the structure of each day to provide a balance between comforting routine and free play and individual and group activities. They will also liaise with parents about these activities.

To keep staff informed and to facilitate the smooth running of the Early Years and co-ordinate short term planning the Staff meet from 5.15  - 6-15 p.m. on the last Wednesday of the month.

Settling-In

A settling in period the week prior to the child’s official start date is essential.  We encourage parents to visit with their child on at least three occasions to stay

(Free of charge) for approximately 2 hours a day.

The Key Person System

This involves the allocation of a named member of staff who will have special responsibilities for your child.  The Key person will be responsible for keeping records of your child’s progress and will hold 6 week settling-in, and subsequently 6 monthly meetings to discuss your child’s progress. 

Staff ratios

We maintain the correct ratio of staff to children as outlined in the requirements of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage  published by the Department for Education.  The ratios are set in accordance with the age of the child and are as follows: 

6 months - 2 years

3 children

1 member of staff

2 years - 3 years

4 children

1 member of staff

3 years - 5 years

8 children

1 member of staff

Government guidelines allow for only 50% of the staff to have a recognised qualification At the Early Years  we aim to have 100% of staff qualified or working towards a recognised qualification. 

Child Protection

It is our policy to promote the health and well-being of all the children in our care. It is our duty to recognise and prevent the abuse and neglect of children. We will support children and families affected by abuse, through support networks and education.

We therefore ask that parents tell us of any injury that their child receives outside the Early Years.  If after discussion between the parents and the Head, or the child’s nominated representative, the Head or the nominated representative is still concerned about the welfare of the child, it is their statutory duty to inform the Child Protection Team.

The Early Years staff will advise parents of any injury a child may sustain during the day and will also ask them to sign an accident/ incident report form.

Special Needs

The Early Years has due regard to the Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs.  Our aim is to develop the full potential of all children within a framework of group care.  We have current and past experience of caring for children with differing special needs.  Staff are keen to learn from each other in this area and work with professional specialists who may also be working with your child.  Therapists are welcome to visit and administer therapy within the Early Years setting.  Your child’s Key person will also be released, when possible, to attend case conferences if they correspond with your child’s needs and interests.

If after visiting the Early Years you feel that your child’s special need/s may not be met by our current practices, The Head or Deputy will be happy to discuss this with you. 

Food and Diet

We provide a balanced and nutritious diet, taking into consideration the religious and health requirements of all children Our Chef prepares and cooks all food from fresh ingredients. Children are provided with lunch and a light tea in the afternoon.  The opportunity for a drink and light snack are provided mid-morning according. Children will have free access to fresh drinking water throughout the day.    A copy of our four week menu is available from the office and a copy is pinned to the notice board in each room.

Unfortunately we cannot offer individual food requirements other than for cultural or health reasons. If a child should suffer an allergy to a certain food group, a letter outlining the circumstances should be given from the child’s GP.

The Environment

Swipe card and video entry systems are in place to help prevent unauthorised users from entering the building.  Staff are vigilant in challenging unknown or unexpected visitors.  Please support and join them in this by challenging unknown personnel and reporting them to the office. The Early Years is registered with Westminster Council and is inspected by Ofsted.  Fire drills are held at least once a year and are recorded.

We provide a welcoming, clean and secure environment for play, with appropriate lighting, ventilation and heating. Outside we will provide a safe play space with suitable equipment and surfaces to extend the range of play offered.

Age appropriate supervision of children will be provided at all times.

Parents are expected to provide appropriate labelled clothing, which is non restrictive. Hats and sun cream protection should be provided by parents. 

Equipment

We will provide a wide variety of toys and equipment to promote each stage of a child’s development and ensure that each child can be meaningfully engaged in play throughout the Early Years day.  The toys and equipment will be chosen with a regard for the ethnic backgrounds of families who have children in attendance at the Early Years. We aim to promote a positive self-image for all our children.  All the equipment purchased will meet British and European Safety Standards and will be maintained in a clean and safe condition.

Opening Hours

The Early Years will be open from Monday to Friday from 08.45 to 17.15 except closures.

Closures 

  • Early Years closes at Christmas and Easter in line with College closures. 
  • There will be 5 additional days added to the College closures per year, divided between Easter and Christmas.
  • Early Years closes for 2 days each year to accommodate staff training. This is an opportunity for staff to train together to update and improve their knowledge and enable them to offer a consistently high standard of childcare as required by Ofsted.

Parents will be notified well in advance of closure dates.

Eligibility

Any staff or student member of Imperial College is entitled to apply for a place for their child at The Early Years

Waiting List                         

There may be a waiting time, please contact the EYEC office to get further information. 

Fees

We aim to keep the fees at a level necessary to provide and maintain a high quality Early Years’ service.

Complaints

  1. If you are worried about any aspect of Early Years care, please speak to the key person caring for your child.
  2. If you feel unhappy with their response or they are unable to help, do not hesitate to talk to the Head of Early Years.
  3. If you are not happy with the response from the Head of Early Years, you can make a complaint in writing to the Director of Campus Services, who will deal with the complaint expeditiously.
  4. In the event of the parent still being dissatisfied, an appeal can be lodged with the Provost who will look into the complaint and may choose to set up an inquiry panel.

The Head of Centre reserves the right to suspend a child if this is in the interest of the majority of the children.  No child has ever been suspended from Early Years. The Head of Early Years would look upon such a situation as a serious breakdown in communication between staff and parent if such a case arose in the future.

Abuse of staff either verbally, physically or written will not be tolerated and may result in the loss of a place at the Early Years.